Jay March2011

Jay Frucci, President and Owner,
Furniture Consignment Gallery

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Staging War

 

 

describe the imageI have strong opinions – and so does my wife, Diana. When we disagree, the staff runs for cover. After nearly ten years of running a business together, we’re pretty good at verbal sparring. Our arguments can be intense, animated and loud. (Hey, I’m Italian!)  At the end of the day, though, we always remember Rule #1: Don’t take the business home. 

One topic is sparking debate – and we haven’t resolved it yet. Does staging help sell a home? Staging is the art of editing and arranging furniture and eliminating clutter to make a house more appealing to buyers. Professional stagers buy or rent furniture and accessories such as art to enhance a home. Many of Boston’s top stagers are customers of FCG.

Since we’re selling our own home – and we have three stores of furniture from which to borrow – this is just theoretical. I’m in favor of staging. Here’s why:

  • I think reducing clutter allows buyers to visualize how they would live in your home. I think buyers find clutter distracting, cementing the idea that it’s your home – not theirs.
  • I think that bright, neutral paint and lots of lighting make a house more appealing to potential buyers – even if they are privately planning to paint the dining room a deep shade of eggplant later.
  • I think less is more. Scaling down the furniture makes a house look bigger, in my view, giving buyers the impression they are getting more house for their buck.
  •  I think it is important to put those antiques in storage and update the furniture because most buyers, especially younger ones buying a starter home, want a more modern look.

describe the imageDiana disagrees. Here’s her view

  • Clutter is irrelevant. She believes potential buyers are capable of seeing beyond the framed kids’ art and the hockey gear and imagining themselves in a home.
  •  She says buyers can imagine a room emptied of its weary-looking wing chairs and filled with their own chic furniture. In fact, she believes, pandering to some imagined buyer’s style preference is a waste of time, money and energy.
  • Staging is fake – and hard on sellers. She insists that buyers’ decisions about which house to buy are based more on complex issues such as the size and layout of a house, the neighborhood, the yard, the town, and the school system. You can’t gussy those up with staging. 

So what do you think of our great debate? You can flee – like our staffers – or you can jump in and let us know. Take our survey about staging and we’ll post the results for you in a couple of days.

blog button tell us what you think

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Plymouth Celebrates It's First Birthday, March 1st, 2014!

 

 

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"It's like having a baby." That's how my wife Diana described the opening of our third store last year. She nailed it with that metaphor. Opening a store means months of anticipation punctuated by bouts of intense anxiety. There are predictable checkpoints along the way - and a few unexpected surprises thrown in for good measure. And once the new addition is here, you can't imagine life without it.

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of our showroom in Plymouth. Diana and I and our three boys cut the blue ribbon at our opening, surrounded by family, friends and staffers. Then, we turned the enterprise over to our hardworking and ambitious team.

How that team came together sometimes seems like a mystery. Denise knocked on the door when we were painting the vast, empty store. She walked in, grabbed a brush and never left. Donna brought a combustible energy and a great sense of design. Rebecca contributed her superb artistic skills, photographing every item for the website. Nick, Cory and Tevin, our movers, fill the showroom with furniture week after week - and help customers fit their treasures into their vehicles.

And, of course, there's Brad, showman extraordinaire. He moved from sunny Florida to snowy Massachusetts to pursue his lifelong dream of managing a furniture store - and to indulge in some sibling rivalry. His twin brother, Ron, manages our store in Hanover. Over the past year, Brad has created a team, a culture and a shopping experience as exciting as any in the furniture business.

If you haven't yet visited Plymouth, this is the weekend to go. The one-year anniversary sale starts now. Take 10% off anything in the showroom! In fact, the more bargains, the merrier! Take 10% off at our stores in Hanover and Chestnut Hill, too. See below for details.

 

 

Anniversary Sale Details:

  • The Sale Starts Now and ends at 5PM on Sunday March 2, 2014.
  • Customers can take 10% off the current price in any of our three showrooms.
  • Items scheduled for a 10% markdown during the sale event are not eligible for further discounting.
  • Final Markdown Items are not eligible for further discounting.
  • Purchases from multiple showrooms can be bundled together into a single delivery for an extra fee.
  • Our doors open at 10AM today. The phones are ready, staffers will be on hand and the stores are packed with beautiful pieces.

Come celebrate with us!

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Hope Chests: How To Make Them Child Safe

 

 

lane

 

In my home, we have a new puppy! After mourning the loss of our beloved dog a few weeks ago, we just adopted Roxie, a reverse brindle boxer with white socks on her feet. Nine weeks old, she's playful and inquisitive, exactly what we needed.

 

Having a puppy in the house brings out the mischief in all of us. Roxie is going to be a big dog, so we bought a big crate for her. A couple of times this week, I've come home to find our five-year-old locked in the crate. "Dad," he would plead with a sheepish half-grin, "get me outta here!" When he'd crawled into the crate to cuddle the puppy, his two older brothers pounced on the chance to bolt the door.

 

Kids love to tease each other and hide in secret places. Like puppies, they have an irresistible urge to play - but they are often unaware of the risks. That's why we want to alert you to a potential danger you may have in your home: the hope chest.

 

From the 1920s until the late 1960s, hope chests were a treasured gift. In it, young women would store needlework, linens and even baby clothing in anticipation of marriage. Lane's hope chests were among the most popular. They were airtight with robust locks, perfect for preserving heirloom items.

 

But that meant they also were the most dangerous. Two children recently suffocated to death in a Lane Hope Chest in Franklin, MA. Once the lid closes on these well-made chests, they cannot be opened from the inside. Since 2003, seven children have died in accidents involving hope chests.

 

Most antique and consignment stores are aware of the dangers and have removed the locks, but there are millions of old hope chests still in use in homes with locks intact. Removing the lock is easy. As a public service, we've created a "how to" video to show you how to do it. Lane also is offering safer replacement locks for free.

 

So please, watch the video and spread the word. If you have a hope chest or know of someone who does - even if it is tucked away in a corner of the attic - remove the lock. You could save a life.

 

Lane Form to order new Child Safe Lock: Here

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

It's Your Move, but Arrange to Sell

 

 

uIMG 5561Despite the arctic cold, we're starting to see a predictable harbinger of spring. Realtors and home-staging professionals are flocking to our showrooms. They're hunting for furniture and accessories to update the homes they hope to sell in the next few months.

 

Some 40% of home sales occur between March and June. Homeowners are busy prepping for that brief window of opportunity. The smartest ones know that clever staging can boost the selling price significantly.

 

Staging is an art. And since we work with some of the best in Boston, I can offer some of their secrets:  

 

First, update your lighting. Cheap fixtures and lamps from the 1970s are a big turn-off for buyers. So are cracked or stained lampshades. New lamps and shades bring immediate warmth and style into a home - and that's a purchase that won't put a big dent in your wallet. Our showrooms offer lots of choices from classic to trendy.

 

Put things in scale. Homeowners often roll out a rug that is too small for the room. Maybe it was a quality hand-me-down from a relative or they got a bargain at the rug store, and they figured that something on a bare floor was better than nothing. News flash: a small rug in a big room is like a postage stamp on a lawn. It shrinks the room visually. We have rugs in all sizes. If you don't find what you need in our stores, then softly gleaming hardwood floors are a better bet.

 

De-clutter. Pack up the dust-collecting tchotchkes. Nothing says Grandma like an army of Hummels. That could be a turn-off to the thirtysomethings looking for a chic nest in which to start their families. Also, take a hard look at your furniture. If potential buyers have to hold their breath to squeeze around a king-size mattress in the master bedroom, you've got a problem. Get rid of furniture that overpowers a room.

 

One last tip: beware the curse of IKEA. We've all committed a few sins in the name of frugality. Say you bought some particleboard furniture a few years ago. You hauled the box home and assembled it yourself. Now, you're selling your house. Keep in mind that nothing depreciates an upscale home faster than cheap furniture. Just a few quality pieces -- bought on consignment - would reinforce the concept of quality in your home.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Chair Construction: Quality Furniture Series #1

 

 

chair topper pinit

 

 

I'm a chair snob. I admit it and I have learned to live with it. My goal is to turn you into a chair snob, too. Because I've had it with chairs that bend and break like matchsticks.

 

Making furniture is a difficult business these days. Competitive pressures have driven many old-line American manufacturers out of business. The survivors are being driven into a corner. To compete, many have shifted manufacturing to Asia, where they are using cheap labor and cheap materials. The result, unfortunately, is a cheap chair.

 

In our educational series, we're going to show you how to get the best buy for your furniture dollar when it comes to chairs. Once you've learned the telltale signs of cheap manufacturing, you'll never be a furniture-showroom sucker again.

 

Tip-off #1: high pressure laminate, or HPL. This is created by taking layers of wood products or wood waste - like sawdust or chips - and molding them under high pressure into a sheet of "wood." Is it wood? It's sort of like the difference between real cheese and Velveeta. HPL is the Velveeta of furniture.

 

How can you tell the difference between solid wood and HPL? Look at the back of the chair - from the side. You'll notice that the wood appears layered. Strips - some of them speckled - appear pressed together. HPL isn't nearly as strong or durable as solid wood.

 

Tip-off #2: the hex screw. That's a simple screw with a hexagonal indentation. Inexpensive to make and quick to install, hex screws are often shipped with furniture that you assemble yourself. Or, they may be used in furniture that has been manufactured overseas but assembled in the U.S. The problem is, hex screws loosen very easily. Over time, the chair gets wobbly and prone to breaking.

 

Not all furniture manufacturers have abandoned quality. Some are still making chairs with solid wood and screws built to last, but they will be expensive. You'll pay up to $1,000 for a high-quality chair. One made from quality wood but assembled overseas will cost $300 to $500. An HP-and-hex screw chair may cost $100 to $250.

 

In our showrooms, we carry chairs in all price

ranges. Come test your skills. Can you pick out the hex screws? HPL? Look for other markers, too. Is the chair seat finished and smooth on the underside? Take a few minutes to notice the differences. Then you can make an educated decision about the chair that meets your budget and your needs.
Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Our Tree of Lights

 

 

"Daaaaad! We NEED a treeeeeee!"

 

13HanoverTree D3This is the fourth time my five-year-old has reminded me of that grim chore. Oops, I mean fun family activity.

Christmas tree decorating has never been my thing. When I was growing up, my family had a fake tree. I hated that thing. So apparently did my father. My mother relieved him of tree duty as soon as we kids were old enough to understand and marvel at his muttered curses. So, as the oldest, it became my job to drag that accursed thing out of the attic and assemble it every December.

 

The tree was jammed in a box as soggy as day-old cornflakes. Stiff metal branches stuck out of the box, threatening to lance my rib cage or pierce an eyeball. After wrestling the box out of the attic, I had to figure out how to put the tree together so it vaguely resembled something in nature. That was a challenge. All the instructions were tattered and looked like, Tucker, our family dog had mistaken the tree diagram for the actual tree. Once, the tree resembled a large prickly green mushroom.

 

Next came the untangling of lights. That's when I paid for my sins of the previous year: snatching the lights 13PlymouthTreeoff the tree, wadding them up haphazardly, and shoving them into the attic - along with the dissected tree - on New Year's Day. Over the summer, small attic demons wove the lights into massive snarls. I call it Satan's Christmas crochet. It's true. Ask any dad.

 

Imagine my relief when I was relieved of tree decorating duty this year at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Instead, we had a contest: staffers would compete to decorate a tree in each of our three stores. The results are stunning.

The theme of Hanover's tree is Boston Strong. Wrapped in a gauzy red and white garland, the tree boasts red, white and blue ornaments and a flamboyant topper crafted out of a dozen little American flags. Plymouth's theme is nautical. Staffers at that store hand-painted tiny anchors and ships as ornaments and a sturdy rope winds its way around the tree. Some 250 tiny nautical flags flutter from every branch. Proudly topping the tree is a miniature three-masted schooner.

 

Chestnut Hill chose to celebrate fine hand-made furniture for its theme. At the top of the tree is a color photo of a gorgeous mahogany breakfront filled with china. Wrapped in sparkling white lights, the tree is laden with photograph 13ChestnutHilltree D2ornaments of exquisite chairs, bureaus, tables and desks.  

So I hereby declare the contest has begun and you, our customers, are the judges. Vote for your favorite tree here in our newsletter on our Facebook page - but I urge you to visit our stores in person to see their handiwork. There you'll see proof that our staff is creative, resourceful and full of holiday spirit.

 

And just between us, let's hope they don't ask me to take down the trees.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

A Series of Comebacks

 

 

         b strong whiteFor the last few months, I would jump when a car door slammed or when a pot slipped and hit our kitchen floor. My heart would pound and I'd break out in a cold sweat. Last April, I was one of the thousands - along with my wife and three sons - at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We weren't injured in the bombing, but I'm haunted at the thought that my family was a target for terrorists.
         Now, after a long and uneventful summer, I'm not so jumpy anymore. In fact, the crack of a bat has been sweet music to my ears for the last few weeks. The home team muscled its way from last place to first as a nation cheered it on. The Red Sox victory in the World Series is the perfect metaphor for our city. Yes, Boston is strong.
        The marathon bombing exposed our vulnerabilities and violated our sense of security. For many of us, the trauma lingered for months. Still, while driving the truck through the city and suburbs picking up furniture this week, I was struck by what I saw. Construction workers are banging hammers and brushing paint on almost every street. The smell of sawdust is in the air.
         To me, that's further evidence of a comeback. Many of us are investing in the place that is safest and most comforting: our homes. We are hard at work to create a haven that has meaning and purpose and security for our families. 
         Six months ago, two morons tried to destroy a great international athletic event and bring a city to its knees. But we're tough. We know how to get back in the game - and win. Let's never forget those who were hurt in the bombing and what we lost, but let's also celebrate our stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. Boston deserves a pat on the back as do the city's triumphant bearded men with bats.
Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Unexpected Places

 

 

homeClipboard in hand, I watched our four guys in blue shirts extract a big haul of furniture from a home in Scituate, a picturesque seaport town on the south shore of Boston. Like powerful ants, they raced up and down stairs for hours carrying six rooms of heavy pieces out of the house and into our truck.

 

Not so long ago, I was doing the hoisting myself with the help of a part-time high-school kid. Back then, all we had was a trailer hitched to the back of a pretty battered SUV. Now, I'm the guy with the clipboard. We've got two decent trucks and blue polo shirts with our company logo.

 

We've come a long way in eight years.     

 

Our consignors are moving back to London.  He'd moved here back in the 1980s to manage a project for Gillette. Originally, the assignment was to last for no more than sixteen months. He and his wife stayed 27 years in Boston.

 

Their children and grandchildren are firmly planted now in American soil, but this recent retiree and his wife are going back to England. They know they'll be crossing the pond a lot in years to come, but even after decades, home has a powerful pull.  

 

They'd bought new furniture three years ago after a flood, and most of it is in perfect condition. On a hot afternoon in mid-August, we packed it up and brought it all to our store in Plymouth.

 

Life takes us to unexpected places by indirect routes. Most of the time, we are traveling without a map. All we really have is an internal compass. What is next for you? For us at FCG? For the ex-pats going back to England?   

 

Stop by one of our three stores this weekend. There are countless family histories written in the furniture in our showroom. Imagine yours coming to life with some of these beautiful pieces.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

New Transitions

 

 

matthewchasingschoo   Our front door whipped open, and Diana burst in, beaming. She gave me a high five. All three boys were on their way back to school. Just as we were about to break into the victory dance of the newly emancipated, we heard a small, miserable voice behind us.
       "Wrong bus." Collin, our ten-year-old, stood in the foyer. He'd ridden one block before the big kids informed him he'd gotten on the eighth-grade bus, not the fifth-grade bus. The driver ejected him promptly at the next corner. Humiliated, he'd run home. Already anxious about his first day of middle school, now he was a ball of nerves. "Thanks a lot!" he said, glaring at us.
       Earlier, Cade, our thirteen-year-old, was fuming during the short ride to his bus stop. I got the silent treatment because I won't busgiflet him upgrade to a smartphone. He believes this tragedy will ruin his year. He'll survive. At least he got on the right bus.
       The dog is sulking - and possibly sick. Even the family car is protesting the end of summer and the start of the car-pool season. Red warning lights are glowering irritably on the dashboard.
       We had one happy camper: Robbie marched off to kindergarten with a big smile. It was orientation day: his first, our third. All the moms sending off their first-borns were beaming through tears and lingering for glimpses. Diana, a veteran, exited happily, kicking her heels. 
      Transitions are tough. It's a relief to pack the kids off to school, but I'm already dreading the projects.  Build the Roman Coliseum out of Cheerios? Seriously!?! Someone in the family needs an engineering degree to get a kid through school these days.
      We're all busy. That's probably why our three showrooms are quiet this week.  But we are working hard to get ready for when you want to beautify your home for the holidays. Every store has exquisite pieces. There's a beautiful Baker dining table in Chestnut Hill, a Chippendale china cabinet in Hanover, and even a folding table with a butler tray in Plymouth.  We're ready to help you create the best holiday ever.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Beach Break

 

 

photo by Christa J Newman PhotographyAfter the big two-day, tax-free furniture sale last weekend, Diana and I were exhausted. We closed up the store, looked at each other and realized we were thinking the same exact thought: Let's go to the beach!

Sunday night offered perfect weather night for a barbecue on the beach. As the sky darkened and dozens of bright meteors streaked overhead, we blackened some burgers on the grill and roasted marshmallows with our three boys. Just as we were settling in for a night of quiet stargazing, four cars roared up. Out poured twenty college kids.

They cranked up the music, opened a cooler of beer and lit a fire. With skills finely honed by spring break, they managed to construct a party scene in seconds - or so it seemed to me. Suddenly, our peaceful evening with the kids seemed in contrast, well, boring.

"How did we get here?" I asked Diana, looking enviously towards the party. "We used to be over there." I mean, it didn't seem that long ago. We were carefree. We had a dozen friends who could dance in the sand all night without worrying about work on Monday. Now, we have a business, a mortgage, three kids. 

Diana glanced at me with an unmistakable expression. It said, wordlessly: "You are such a dumbass."

"They're over there, Jay, trying to figure out how to get over here," she observed, turning to watch our three boys chasing each other across the beach. "And with whom."

I laughed. I knew she was right, but I wanted to yell to them, "Stay over there!"  In a few hours, I would be back to work trying to figure out how to arrange 50 plus deliveries from the weekend sale, answering e-mails, registering kids for fall sports and hollering at them to finish their summer reading.

Then, an older couple strolled by both of our campfires, chuckling at the awkward antics of the teenagers, then nodding genially at us. They looked content. Our stage in life is a lot of work, but as the kids ran back to our fire, shivering with beach towels, I know that we will remember these times as the good old days.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!
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